Pennsylvania Fundraising Registration

Charitable Solicitation Registration and Compliance
Pennsylvaniacharitable solicitation license, Pennsylvania fundraising license

Charitable solicitation is regulated on the state-level and the requirements vary by state. 41 states require charitable solicitation registration. Asking for donations by phone, mail, in person, and online subject a charity to registration requirements. Fundraising online is generally considered solicitation, including use of a "Donate Now" button on an organization’s website.

In nearly every state, charities are required to register before soliciting donations, regardless of whether funds are actually received. Some states require nonprofits to qualify with the corporations division and appoint a registered agent. In addition, most states require charities to include disclosure statements in their solicitations.

Overview of Pennsylvania Requirements

Pennsylvania requires charitable solicitation registration. Charities must register with the Pennsylvania Department of State - Bureau of Charitable Organizations in order to solicit donations in the state. While not required as a prerequisite for charitable registration, organizations may be required to qualify as a foreign nonprofit corporation with the Pennsylvania Department of State - Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations and appoint a registered agent.

About This License

Agency:Pennsylvania Department of State - Bureau of Charitable Organizations
Law:

10 Pennsylvania Statutes, Chapter 4B, § 162.1 - 162.7

Automatic Exemption

Organizations that meet these exemption criteria are automatically exempt from charitable solicitation registration requirements.

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Charitable organizations which receive gross national contributions of $25,000 or less annually and do not use a professional solicitor
  • Organizations of law enforcement personnel, firefighters, or other persons who protect the public safety
  • Religious institutions
  • Educational institutions
  • PTAs
  • Hospitals and hospital foundations
  • Veterans' organizations chartered under federal law, volunteer firemen, ambulance associations, rescue squad associations, and their auxiliaries or affiliates
  • Public, nonprofit library organizations
  • Senior citizen centers and nursing homes
  • Any corporation established by an act of Congress of the United States
Notes:

If your organization is based in Pennsylvania, it may still be required to file an Institutions of Purely Public Charity Statement.

Initial Registration

Organizations that have never registered for charitable solicitation in Pennsylvania will file an initial registration. This section contains an overview of completing an initial charitable solicitation registration.

Form:

Form BCO-10: Charitable Organization Registration Statement

Instructions:

Instructions for Registering

Filing method:

Mail

State fee:

$15-250, depending on gross contributions

Notes:
  • Read the exemptions chart carefully and check to see if you still need to file the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Statement.
  • Note the list of attachments that first-time registrants must attach to the application.
  • Some Pennsylvania counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.

Renewal Filing

Organizations that have already registered for charitable solicitation in Pennsylvania are required to renew their registrations to maintain good standing. This section contains an overview of renewing the charitable solicitation registration.

Form:

Form BCO-10: Charitable Organization Registration Statement

Filing method:

Mail

State fee:

$15-250, depending on gross contributions

Due:

Due annually 10.5 months after the end of the fiscal year every year.

Notes:
  • The renewal due date is indicated on the certificate of registration you receive after your initial filing. It is based on your fiscal year end.
  • You must attach an annual financial report.
  • Even if you are exempt, you still may need to file annually under Pennsylvania’s Purely Public Charity Act.

Common Questions

Is the URS accepted in Pennsylvania?
The Unified Registration Statement (URS) is a consolidated multi-state registration form.
For initial filing: Yes
For renewal filing: Yes
Is foreign qualification required? Not explicitly required as a prerequisite for charitable solicitation registration.
Is maintaining a registered agent required? Not explicitly required as a prerequisite for charitable solicitation registration.

Learn about charitable registration in other states:

Harbor Compliance® proudly partners with the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations to provide insightful resources and compliance solutions to nonprofits in Pennsylvania.


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